Matt gave up (update)

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Steely, Oct 3, 2009.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    So Matt, for now, is in phosph, escorted there by the sheriff dept. Nice. It is the third time he was escorted by the police to this same phosph in Idaho in a year. I believe that is his own new personal record.:(

    I guess the good news, is that his Dr does want him back in the program, however, Matt is apathetic and despondent to that idea. In fact he is completely apathetic to life at this point. He knows he can never live with me, again - and I think he knows deep inside that he has no clue how to lead his own life, solo - but yet he certainly does not want to live in his program either. I really have no idea what is going to happen when he gets back out of the phosph. Will he try and run again, because he is just fed up with his life - and this time will he try and kill himself - or do something so outrageous they will not let him back in the program? Or will he finally get his act together? I don't know. And I guess I cannot worry about something that is so out of my control. Yet internally this is eating at me.

    My dilemma in true detachment - is that the doctors and treatment team keep pulling me into Matt's world. I mean how can I truly detach, when the Dr phones to dump on me all the crummy stuff Matt is doing. What the heck am I supposed to say or do with that info?
    "Thanks for sharing - but frankly I don't give a d@mn?"
    I really don't want to hear if he was a bear to the staff, and the staff don't like him. Or that he ripped up the car interior on the ride to phosph and so now the car is in the shop, blah, blah.
    "That blows Dr U, send me the bill."

    I feel like they are telling me this stuff to somehow make me feel guilty and responsible for his actions - and yet - I am not. These statements do not help me be a better mom to Matt - they only make me feel horrible and helpless and embarrassed. Yes, I suppose I could tell the treatment team to not tell me these things - but I don't think they will listen to me.

    The other part is that the treatment team has decided that I am part of the problem - which I probably am. I know I tend to enable Matt, and try to fix his problems. I know I am overly mama bear-ish, and want to knock the stuffing out people who wrong my kid. And I know that is not what is helpful to Matt. However, the doctors also put things on me that are not my fault.

    For instance the Dr told me that they could not help Matt until I trusted every member of their team. And until I could do that, things were not going to work. Well, they say that because I have communicated my disappointment in them not listening to me, and taking action on some of my concerns. They say that because I communicated my disappointment in the fact that his counselors do not return my phone calls, or forget to call when scheduled, or forget to schedule family therapy, etc.

    How is it exactly that I am supposed to trust a team that is irresponsible?
    Just accept the fact they are irresponsible? Just not care if they return my phone calls or take actions about my concerns? Just not have concerns, and try to be perfectly Zen about every single thing that comes my way? I don't know.

    I think I also feel super despondent and apathetic at this point. I had a trip planned and a plane ticket purchased for Matt to come visit for his birthday next week - and now he cannot come because the doctors think it will too destabilizing. However, this is the second birthday in a row I have not been able to see him, and that he has been in an institution. That stinks. I am sure it will be the second Thanksgiving and Christmas as well that I won't be able to see him. That makes me super sad. I had to try and fed ex some last minute presents to him and hope they get there in time. And truthfully, I don't think Matt even cares about his birthday, which makes me even more sad.

    He told me last night he doesn't want to come home anymore because it was too depressing. Wow. Truthfully, all I can think of that statement is what the doctors keep telling me - I truly am part of the problem. I make everything worse.

    I am so sick of this. I am so sick of treatment teams, and hospitals and doctors. I just want Matt to be out on his own trying to make things work on his own (not that that is realistic). No really - I am SUPER sick of doctors and treatment teams. I think they are all stupid, taxing, accusatory, defensive, pompous, and lack empathy. Grrrr.:mad: And truly how do you detach when you have these ding dongs so involved in every aspect of your kids life, pulling you in, wanting you to do XYZ? OMG. So sick of them.

    Anyway. Thanks for listening to my long rambling post. And thanks for your prayers and good thoughts for Matt and me.
  2. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I would just hold your ground and do the, "Sorry you feel that way... but this is how I feel and why. Explain once and then end of conversation. Too bad, even if Dr. U is awesome this does not mean all of his staff is as good as he is, this is impossible.

    Of course you have caused some of Matt's issues! But Matt has been in some horrible places, he has had some horrible treatment by horrible people! You have done all of this alone with no directions and no guidelines or help, SORRY Doctors.
    "What would you do Dr. U if you had been in my position?" You never claimed to be perfect just trying to help a very sick kid. Constantly blaming me isn't going to help me or Matt.
    "I wish I was as perfect as all of your other Parent's..." LOL

    What is the long term plan? Or do they have one now? Is he supposed to eventually work out in the community?

    If they want you to be involved I would want to know where? Remember it is a small town, people are still a bit small minded.

    If not then I would tell them you will keep paying but they can make the decisions if they don't like the way you handle things. Maybe step back for a bit.
    I don't know if you can do that? I don't know if I could.
    I am sorry, this has to be making you sick.
    I don't know if any Residential Treatment Center (RTC) ever gets it right? I ams sure they mean well, I am sure Matt is a tough one! Of course. LOL
    But it doesn't make it any easier on you, how do you ever begin to detach when you still have to make decisions...?

  3. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Very generally, I would trust every member of the team and make a decision to 'pick your battles.' Only speak your mind if and/or when you see and hear something that you honest to goodness know in your heart is totally wrong for your son. Otherwise, I would give them an opportunity to try something different/unfamiliar to you.

    I would not leave too many messages....pick and chose when you will do this. Then, be sure to leave your phone number 2x and ask that you receive a phone call by a certain time. Ususally 1-2 days is PLENTY of time for a return call. So, for example, if you were to call on Monday morning, you might say..."Hi, this is Sue Smith, Tommy's mother. My number is xxxx-xxx-xxxxx. I have an important question about his medication and would like a call back as soon as possible. Again, my number is xxx-xxxx-xxxx, it's Monday morning and I'm hoping you'll be able to call back within twenty four hours." (or something like this).
    If you don't get a call back by the end of the day Tuesday, I would call back late Tues. afternoon or Wed. morning and if you don't get a call back by Wed. late afternoon, I would call that person's supervisor.

    Another trick is to leave an email as well as a phone message.

    But remember, if you are trying to disengage, don't leave too many messages. Save this when something is of utmost concern.

    You could also let them know that for your own good mental health, you are disengaging from the minute details of your son's treatment. You might tell them that you wish to be informed on a regular basis (perhaps weekly) of his progress and of course of any significant turns/changes that might occur during the week.

    If you think of something that might benefit your son, mention it to the person in charge to see if it is something they might try. However, don't insist and don't be emotional.

    If down the pike, your son has serious and consistent problems, you might address moving him to another facility, etc. However, do not be too quick to make this type of decision.

    Consider protecting your own good mental health, but keep a watchful eye out for your son as well. It is a delicate balance.

    One more thing...try to identify at least one person you sense is honest and your "go to" person should you have a special concern...but don't abuse the relationship. Be extra kind to this person.

    If anyone gives you a hard time about pulling back, remember what? What they think of you is their problem. What they think of you is none of your business. Run YOUR race: you want your son to get good care and you want to keep your about that?

    Are you receiving any of your own therapy? It is something to is somewhat typical and often beneficial for parents to do this while their children are at a Residential Treatment Center (RTC).

    If I were you...I would have something in the wings for Thanksgiving planned for yourself...just in case.

    Remember..many many many parents have not been able to see their children for holidays while they were in RTCs.

    Your son might very well have to learn to feel the sting of inappropriate behavior...if this is the case...let him feel the sting.

    You, take care of yourself. Perhaps go traveling with other family members...get creative...get strong.
    Your son will realize that you would prefer to have him home, but deep down, you are one strong, smart woman. And guess what, he is just like and capable. It will get him thinking.

    Bottom aware...but not hyper vigilant, give this team a chance, pick your battles, stream line involvement...figure out the right balance.
    Lasted edited by : Oct 3, 2009
  4. slsh

    slsh member since 1999

    Steely, I am just so sorry and sending you many gentle hugs.

    As my difficult child got older (16 and on), we could never win with- treatment teams. We either did too much or not enough. I finally told them they were going to have to figure it out with thank you, without husband or me. Was incredibly difficult to follow thru on that, but... I got really tired of the focus being on what husband or I should be doing, rather than what thank you was supposed to be doing. If it were up to husband or me, thank you would be the picture of good mental health. It doesn't work that way.

    I don't know what the answer is, Steely - my kid is one mood swing (his or his cohabitants') away from being on the street, and the consequences of that? Well, I think you and I think along similar lines on that one. I try really hard not to think about it because realistically there is not one doggone thing I can do about it, at least not while he continues to be so doggedly noncompliant and uncooperative. Is he mentally ill? You bet. But because all mental health treatment is voluntary (which is about as oxymoronic as they come), we're just stuck waiting for the trainwreck.

    You trusting the team has absolutely zip with- their ability to help Matt. Zero, nada. I'm sure you're not on the phone with him undermining them. The team, in my humble opinion, needs to focus on Matt, period. He's not returning home to live. It's their job (repeat, *their* job) to work with him on what comes next. And if he's unable to deal with the anxiety that moving up to the next level brings (so familiar!), they need to either help him learn to deal with it or move around it. If he refuses to return to the program, *they* need to work with him on what he does want, and try to get the supports in place.

    I'm really just so sorry, Steely. I hope you are taking care of yourself extra well right now.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Many, many gentle hugs.
  6. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Slsh, that pretty much sums it all up. Ya know? I mean these mood swings that just simply seem to dominate their entire being, soul, and mind - and the aftermath of consequences that follow - are mind numbing.

    Toto - the ideal plan is - the one Matthew was a week away from obtaining - was for him to move into a semi supervised transitional group home. From there he was supposed to be learning independent living skills, and get a job, etc.

    I truly am afraid if he stays in the intensive unit too much longer he will become dependent on that structure to function.

    At this point I am wavering on just telling them I do not want to be involved at all. When they want their family phone calls, and meetings, I will just sit there and passively listen. At this point it seems the best way to protect me and my psyche. However, I also know me - and I am a fighter in everything I do. I would not have survived this long, if I did not have a warrior personality. So I am not sure if I am really setting myself up for success to say that I could passively listen to everything and not be involved.

    Nomad - I wish I had a counselor. I miss Erin my counselor in Dallas SO much. I had seen her for 7 years, and she helped changed my life. However, I just found out that there is a new Behavioral Health Center in my town, and I have applied to at least get in the door there. This is the only option I have in this town, as it is a pretty poor, small town, and there are not any counselors or psychiatrists that practice here independently.

    I am not able to get Xanax from any doctors here either - so I am hoping that the Behavioral Health Center will be able to address my medication needs. I was d/cing Xanax for this reason - but I need it to sleep at this point. I wake up at night in a cold sweat with full blown panic attacks when things like this are happening with Matt. Sigh. :sick:

    I am trying to take care of myself. I have 2 days off for the first time in a couple of months - so I think that will really help. Oh yea - to top it all off - the boss whom I adore is leaving for another job. So sad about that too. I love M., she has become such a good friend, and is such a good boss - I will miss her a lot.

    I guess I am going to come up with a bullet pointed list of things I think would help in Matt's care and send it to Dr U - and then just let him take it from there. I will try and be neutral, and just let him take the ball from there.
  7. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful



    I never had a child in long term care so don't really feel I have any experience to advise you there.

    You are learning detachment, and that's not as easy as many people think. It is a process. Sometimes it's a long process learned thru trial and error.

    Make decisions you can live with, be true to yourself and the person you are, and most of all be honest with yourself. You have to remember, you're trying to heal thru all this too.

    You and Matt are in my prayers every night.
  8. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I noticed that you are back and forth between wanting as you say to listen and work with the group passively and totally disengage OR to be a FIGHTING "warrior" mom.

    However, this black and white...all or nothing thinking isn't the best approach to a problem.

    I think it stems from a lot of frustration and conflict.

    There is a middle ground. To an extent, you are supervising your son's care, so you do want to make sure that he is receiving proper care. However, your son has to do the work here. So, can you just look at it as kind of like a quick check to make sure everything is in place and if you see something obviously out of place, your role then is to speak up. You should trust that the people working with your son by and large know what they are doing. If you should see something that concerns you significantly, you are free to speak up, but unless it is a big problem, for your own good mental health...let it go. Honestly, I do think it is important to avoid extreme thinking.

    Develop a plan to just listen...sort of like a check up. If a major red flag goes should bring it to the attention of someone in charge. However, pick and chose your comments and always protect your emotions.

    Perhaps think of yourself as more like a distant "assistant" or "supervisor" to those doing the actual work or the heavy lifting.

    If you have something of importance that you have to do, something legitimate, there is nothing wrong with skipping a phone call for a week. Skip a week and catch up the following. So, in other words, take a little break...perhaps suggest that someone send you an email that week and you will reply and resume your normal phone call discussions the following week...and both parties note the date.

    Also, if at all possible, I do hope that you can make a plan to see a new therapist. This is a lot on your plate...and the holidays will be here before you know it...and that tends to bring added stress, esp. when our home lives are not as we would currently have them to be.

    Please have a plan for something enjoyable to do for Thanksgiving...a just in case plan. Don't fall for this trap. Drop some hints to some good folks. Check out good friends and relatives...think about what you can make (or buy) to take to friends or who you might invite to your place, etc. Or where you might travel yourself a pumpkin or a cute toy/plush turkey (follow a family tradition or do something different) and have fun ANYWAY!

    Sending good thoughts.
    Lasted edited by : Oct 4, 2009
  9. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I woke up this morning with this song stuck in my head. It was a tribute song to Syd Barrett when he lost his mind and left the band, Pink Floyd. This is only an excerpt:

    Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
    Shine on you crazy diamond.

    Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
    Shine on you crazy diamond.
    Come on you raver, you seer of visions,
    come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!

    ~shine on Matthew sweetie, shine!~

    I can't stop crying today.:(
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    That is sad.

    Just for now, don't think about the past.
    Don't read sad songs or look at old pictures, etc.

    Did you feel better or worse after you read that song by Pink Floyd????

    As best as you can, keep busy and try to do things that are enjoyable.

    Are there any movies that you might want to see? Any friends who might want to go to a movie?

    Just because your son made a bad move recently, t doesn't mean that it will be this way forever. Six months from now, there could be improvement. And a year from now, it might be rather significant.

    I know for our situation, there has been improvements, it is just that the improvements have been teeny tiny. Patience is very very important.

    So, stay out of the depressing only brings more pain.
    Surely, this is not what you want.
    Put one foot in front of the other, crawl out of the abyss and see what might bring a little joy to your step.

    Also, if you continue to feel very down, don't hesitate to call your doctor for some immediate advice.
    Hopefully, you'll be able to find a therapist sooner, rather than later for additional help.

    Lasted edited by : Oct 4, 2009
  11. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    That song has been in head and soul all day.
    I do not consider it a song of despair, but rather of hope.
    I want my Matthew to shine like a diamond........and I believe he will.
    I have sent that prayer to the heavens, continuously, throughout the day.
    I have to believe that his crazy little self, will shine.
    He has so much to offer the world, so much depth, compassion, and empathy - surely god will see that and help him shine.
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    That's good!
    I do believe that asking God for help for our children and for ourselves
    can lead to positive change.
  13. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    Steely, just so you know, right now you are my hero.

    Many prayers for you and Matt.
  14. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    Awwwwwww Steely I'm so sorry. Matt seems alot like my son. does well for a while then just blows it. It hurts a mothers heart so badly. -RM
  15. horserider

    horserider New Member


    My difficult child will be 18 in a yr and 2 months so I read with interest and also learn from all of you what our future may hold. (new to the boards a few wks ago). My heart goes out to you upon reading your post, I feel so much of the same pain in my heart. I also am trying to "detach" and not be so involved as I found my mind and body giving out. I moved out of our home because of our difficult child and the constant verbal and physical abuse and destruction of property (could not send him packing), still 16, always more towards me then my husband. My difficult child is currently in a treatment program through the jjc, arrested for domestic violence (3rd offense) & destruction of property. He has to "earn" his way out of this program and I don't know if he can ever "earn" my trust again. Like yourself I am frustrated about his "teams" efforts, calls are not returned, etc. This is not his first time in a long term program, except this time it is tied to his charges and court. Do we give up to save ourselves? No we can't but I've come to realize that I to have to detach in some ways, like yourself, and let him find (and earn) his way. Currently non-medication compliant so he has not "earned" a week yet.

    We have family therapy sessions but how do I tell my difficult child and his therapist I don't think I can move back home. difficult child thinks mom will be there when I get out. My therapist tells me I suffer from post-tramatic stress, wonder why... One day at a time I guess.

    Christmas (and my difficult child's birthday shortly after) will be very hard for me also this year. Just seeing the kids in our small town going to homecoming, the football games, etc has been hard. But we go on I guess. Finding this site has been a god send for me. I look at other parents who visit their difficult child's the same day we do and want to reach out to them, but can't. I am lucky to have found a new, wonderfully supportive group that can truly make me feel like I'm not alone.

    As I have to be mindful of this all the time, remember to take care of yourself.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you and Matt
  16. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Hugs to you horserider..........
    This is a horrible road to travel.
    Yet there has to be a meaning, purpose, reason, we are traveling it? Right? Or so it seems.
    I understand, totally, moving out of the house to escape difficult children wrath and fury. I actually moved to a town 3 states away, with only 4K people in it, to be free from Matt's antics.
    Regardless, I love him SO much.
    That is what is unbelievably heartbreaking about our kids and their stories/our stories. Our unrequiting love continues, regardless of their actions.
    Tonight I feel sick from grief in missing him & worrying about him. And I am sure you do too.
    Hugs and love
  17. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Sigh...I am sorry you are dealing with this, Steely. I can't imagine how hard it must be.

    Word to the wise on Xanax. It is an extremely addictive medication with a high street value (meth addicts use it come down when they are 'tweaking')

    Xanax is a benzo and all of them have addiction/abuse potential. A lot of docs won't EVER RX to a patient, and using it for sleep is off-label.

    Ambien can be effective but again it is a modern benzo and carries with it the dependency risk though not to the same degree.

    You might want to look into Lunesta which is not a benzo, can be used long term, and for most people doesn't leave them with the AM hangover.
  18. horserider

    horserider New Member

    going north,

    I only take the xanax a couple times a week, as needed, for stress and anxiety basically, not for sleep. Like before I go to visit my difficult child, which is actually once a week. I was breaking down in court and during visits.
    Anti-depressants take to long to see if they would help, been down that road. I will call my dr. if I find I am taking them more often. Been very careful, thank you for the warning.

    Unconditional love, it's what we live by. I face the same problems with- the blaming, guilt my difficult child's team try to lay on me. I refuse to take it. I think, why don't you try and take him home for a month, while he is non-medication compliant and see what miracles you can do. They have no clue sometimes. I would love to have it out with- our difficult child's case manager but because he is in a program tied to the jjc/court I don't go there for fear of retaliation. The team decides if he earns his week, so far, in 3 weeks he has not earned one. I did not visit him last week, my husband did, and felt guilty but again, have to detach sometimes. Tomorrow I will visit but like yourself I am so, so sick of dr's, therapist, teams, psychiatric hospital, Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s, etc.

    Maybe I need to move out of state, like you did. Have been seriously thinking about it. My mom (who I'm very close with) is in AZ in the winter, comes home in the summer. Been thinking about going there.

    Take care Steely, hugs to you and our dear difficult child's.
  19. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    Steely, I've never been in your situation so I can't offer any advice. I just wanted to say that I am thinking of you and sending you a hug. My difficult child is driving me mad but when I read what you are going through, I feel humble.

    Love, Esther
  20. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    Side note/re-read 100x:

    I do think it is a difficult road to travel and also strongly suspect there is meaning behind it all.

    I'm learning 'things' all the time...for example, how to 'balance' my own needs, speak up for myself, make sure I am on my list of "favorite people" as well as my loved ones, and I am able to help difficult child when it is appropriate and necessary, without taking away lessons that she needs to learn. I am learning balance and wisdom.

    I read recently that our (us parents) reaction to the stressors of having a child with special needs and/or mental illness plays a big role in their recuperation or at least their ability to manage their symptoms. It all has to do with coping. How do we cope with stress? How are we modeling coping? Interesting, it is just one more burden to place on mom and dad. It is what it is, but this is one more big and important reason to get therapy as soon as possible. The stresses involved are real and big and few are naturally equipped to cope with it, esp. all the time and esp. when they are really blooming.

    So, my advice would be to push for therapy for yourself and to do your best to control your emotions, with the understanding, that it isn't going to be easy. In the end, you will be a better person for having worked on yourself and you will help your son. You will be a role model for how to cope with very very difficult and trying things.

    I also agree about the Xanax. It is extremely addicting and from what I understand, should only be used rarely.

    Sending you good thoughts and hugs
    Lasted edited by : Oct 12, 2009